This week’s council meeting was the first of the year as well as the first with newly elected members of Maumelle’s government.
Mayor Caleb Norris was sworn in for his new term as mayor and Council Members Michael Tierney and Jess Holt were sworn in along with me for a new 4-year term. Joining us on the council for her first term is Christine Gronwald who was recently elected from ward 1 (Country Club of Arkansas and Riverland neighborhoods).
Continuing as City Clerk is Tina Timmons who was elected to a new term and our new City Attorney is Andrew Thornton who is serving for the first time.
The only item of unfinished business on our agenda this week was an appointment to the Civil Service Commission. We’ve attempted to make an appointment at the three previous meetings, but no candidate has been able to garner the necessary five votes. At this week’s meeting we once again went through several rounds of voting without a candidate gaining five votes. At this point, City Attorney Thornton shared a memo he had prepared for Mayor Norris on whether or not the Mayor could cast a vote to give a candidate the needed fifth vote. Based on Mr. Thornton’s research, the state Attorney General had issued a past opinion that a Mayor does have the authority to cast a vote in another situation similar to ours. Based on the counsel of our city attorney, Mayor Norris cast a vote in favor of Sam Williams to be appointed to the Civil Service Commission. It’s worth noting that four of six voting council members had also voted for Mr. Williams so the Mayor’s vote gave him the five needed for appointment. While this appointment took two months to finally complete, we had two excellent candidates and I hope that Ms. Kelley Hughes will consider applying for a future opening on the commission.
There was no city business to conduct under new agenda items other than to elect a President Pro Tempore to preside over the next council meeting due to the mayor’s expected absence. Despite my best efforts to nominate another council member, I drew the short straw, so I’ll be filling in for the mayor at the next council meeting.
Note, city offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 16 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The next council meeting will be held on Tuesday, at 6 p.m..